As ecommerce continues to grow in India, there is an obvious need to enable more sellers to start building an online business. We have earlier covered Infibeam’s BuildABazaar store, which enables you to create your own store using tools/services provided by Infibeam.
39shops is a startup that is precisely targeting the DIY ecommerce store business (a store example here) with a set of predefined themes, one page checkout, flexible shipping rates, content management, managing product/process etc). The service accepts credit card/paypal payments and can be hosted on your own domain name also. In terms of product capability, 39shops is a well executed product especially the set of tools team has built (few screenshots below).
The company is targeting global audience (precisely North America and India) and so far has managed to grab 200 sellers (free+paid) and business model lies in subscription fee (starts at $15/month) plus sales commission.
SAAS Based Ecommerce Stores
The business opportunity for SAAS based ecommerce store is huge (Gartner expects that by 2014, 40% of e-commerce implementation will use Software-as-a-service), but the challenge lies in the marketing side of it. Small businesses do not have marketing budget and sites like 39shops need to build traffic to their site, or a solid distribution channel in order to be more relevant to entrepreneurs.
In fact, most of small businesses do not get the Internet part very well and lose interest after a few months of trying out, as such services do not provide them the necessary marketing push (Yahoo Small Business has merchant account service which does pretty much the same thing – just that it was never ever a phenomenal success as renewal rates are very low).
What’s your take on this model? Do you think a focused/vertical approach works (say, a DIY store just for sellers selling apparels/handicrafts etc), especially when it comes to marketing the service to sellers?